There is nothing like setting up a brand new tent in the dark by yourself to test the claims of simplicity of a company.
For years, I have heard of Big Agnes and its range of ultralight hiking gear. I’m no stranger to Steamboat Springs – their range of male inflated coats is just as sexy and just as reliable as Patagonia or The North Face, and for a little less money – Never had the chance To claim their fame: tents, sleeping bags, and covers, all designed to function as a transparent system. In other words, the Big Agnes things work better when they are associated with Big Agnes’ business, and if a business wants all my business, its system should be much better intuitive than anything else.
Let’s say that Big Agnes passed the test with flying colors.
FLY CREEK UV UL3 TENT
Back to the tent. On a recent camping trip to Shrine Pass, I arrived all night long after everyone had set up a camp. Someone offered me a spotlight to put up the Fly Creek UL U3 ($ 449.95) tent that I bought – an incredibly lightweight system designed to make a backpack with three people, which really means Two people and more speed – but I wanted the lack of familiarity to be part of field testing. If I can not figure out how to set up this one-pole system by myself in the near black, then, how easy is it?
The first thing I noticed was the fragility of the material, unpacking the poles, the rain and the body of the tent. The floor of the fly and tent is both stripped of silicone treated nylon, which means they must resist the beating of rocks, roots, branches and campers on the runway. Yet, everything felt so … fragile.
The second thing I noticed was the quality of the Big Agnes poles system. Like the Copper Spur tent ($ 449.95), the Fly Creek family (with sizes for one or three people) has a unique pole with two hubs – one for the front, the other for the front For the rear – and another smaller hub for rain. It happens that every day is fighting for three or more separate poles, but it has also brought up the tent with a breeze. I just set up the tent, connected the posts, put four ends to four posts in four eyelets, attached several plastic clips and voila – I have a simple shelter in about three minutes.
And this is the last thing I noticed: this system is incredibly intuitive. Two minutes later, I had tied the rain fly and I was with stakes that never folded (seriously). About 10 minutes after the arrival, my shelter was ready for the night rains of that night and I had a beer at the campfire. Nothing beats that.
Later that night, I slipped into the Mystic UL 15 sleeping bag attached to the Q-Core SLX pad. Both are designed to fit a glove – the 20 inch by 72-inch cushion in a sleeve at the bottom of the bag – and I look forward to testing the concept. I sleep like a dead person until I climb into a tent, where the slightest slope makes me slip and slide everywhere. I can not tell you how many times I woke up in a confused mess at the bottom of a tent, or everything in my tent partner’s face. Sometimes I do not even bring a stamp because I know I will not stay there.
The bag-and-pad system has not completely solved this problem, but it certainly made a night’s rest in the woods more comfortable. It took place exactly as announced: the pad was kept tight against the bottom of the bag, which kept me in the tent thanks to the long and solid compartments of the I beam.
But, like the tent, I could not understand how fragile the material was on the bag and the pad. They are also made from a nylon rip-stop, and I spoke with some friends who say their equipment is still in a torn room, but I was cautious to avoid accidentally tearing the fabric On a nail. Maybe Big Agnes is doing this on purpose: people are probably dealing with difficult gear as difficult gear, which could just shorten the life span. In addition, this fragile fric-stop also looks very sexy when it shines in the light of the lamp.
But I digress. The fabric is secluded, the waterproof padding of the bag is soft and comfortable, and the napa interior material tafetta is the best thing to do for a carpet. The temperature dropped in the 30s that night, and between the 15-degree ranking and the surprisingly isolated tent, I ended up kicking on the bottom of the bag. At nine o’clock in the morning, I was baking.
Not only is the Big Agnes hiking system intuitive, it also meets its ultra-light legend. Overall, the tent, bag and pad I tested weighed 7 pounds, 9 ounces and cost about $ 1,000. It’s almost lighter than the tents of three people by themselves (and a good $ 750 more expensive). If hiking in the background is your thing, Big Agnes is your brand.